Friday, June 7, 2013

Behind the island and other stories

Mountshannon Arts Festival, Saturday, a boating event. The weather was still cold (impossible to believe writing this in the heat (yes really) of 9 am) and I was wrapped in about fourteen layers to watch the raft race. Some unusual craft and many blue legs ...

There should possibly have been a stewards' enquiry, but it was only after the prize was given to the two bashful lads that someone said 'that's not a raft, it's a boat'. The winning craft was half a domestic oil tank (just peeking into the left of the photo). Is a raft by definition flat?

That afternoon something happened with the sunshine. We mooched up the lake to Kilgarvan where there was a Derg branch IWAI barbecue. Kilgarvan is always lovely, and this was at the invitation of the inhabitants of the boaters there. A peaceful harbour with boats suitable to an angling club.

We squeezed into a small spot next to a shed - the advantage of an old-fashioned boat like ours is that you can do this. It freed up space for bigger boats and gave us aft access to land - after much jiggery pokery with ropes and planks helped by the invaluable men-who-always-do-this and other experts.

The boarding plank isn't ours. A (much) bigger boat, Chang Sha, lent us this as the one we had on deck was too weedy for the job. It's as well we did. The boat to the left, Liberty Blaze, tied alongside and had visitors staying on board who were not suited for the job of plank walking. Fair play to them for doing it anyway.

Next stop a hidden place to join Knocknagow, already secured. If you go up the lake as though to the bridge at Portumna you pass through two pairs of markers where the lake narrows to a river. To the left of these markers is an island you barely notice - Roger's Island (not sure if there's an apostrophe and the chart is on the boat). Between the island and the mainland is a cut in which dogs and crew can be intrepid, tied to trees and surrounded by towering reeds.

We were boy and girl scouts, stuck in the jungle with a steep boarding plank giving access to tunnels between reeds! I had to cut back nettles with a pair of scissors!

Ahem. I should add, in the interests of truth and anti-hyperbole, that the roadway was a 30 second push through the reeds.

But it was beautiful. A Swallows and Amazons sort of place, or how I imagine the Norfolk Broads to be if they weren't so full of cruisers.

We'll be going back there.

No comments:

Post a Comment